One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,196 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


paid for

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
Maria Bengtsson (soprano)
Sarah Tysman (piano)
rec. 2017
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
MDG 922 2062-6 SACD [63:25]

A little more than a year ago I reviewed a really lovely Mozart arias disc with Maria Bengtsson, and now she is back with this Strauss recital. Good Mozart sopranos tend to be good Straussians as well, and with the previous disc in fresh memory I had high expectations when the new disc arrived. I had no reason to be disappointed. Anyone wanting to sample her ability needs only listen to Das Rosenband (tr. 5): The beauty of her voice, her breath control, the way she floats the tone in long legato phrases, softly and sensitively – and it is not just the singing per se, she also has something to tell the listener. Her way with the text reveals an understanding mind behind the notes. Most of these songs have of course been recorded hundreds of times by all the great lieder singers, so competition is keen but Maria Bengtsson stands up well by comparison. Almost all the most popular Strauss songs were composed before the turn of the century, but it is valuable that she includes some songs from that late lieder year 1918, when there was sudden gush of songs constituting Op. 66 – 69. Most interesting of these is, I think, the three Ophelia songs from Op. 67, a mini cycle that depicts the madness of the poor girl. The German translation is by Karl Joseph Simrock and the music is almost as mad and unpredictable as Ophelia herself. Harmonically it borders on atonalism and formally it is very loosely constructed. The short middle song (tr. 21) stands out from the surrounding tragic mood in its mercurial swiftness and lightness. In the final song we anticipate death approaching from the piano accompaniment, suggesting the flowing of water, which was to become her grave.

Included is also Strauss very last composition, Malven, written in November 1948, two months after the completion of Vier letzte Lieder. He sent it to soprano Maria Jeritza, who kept it until her death in 1982, aged 94. It was then sold and in 1985 Kiri Te Kanawa could première it and later record it. The song has since then become part of the standard repertoire. The mood is akin to the four last songs, in particular Beim Schlafengehen. Maria Bengtsson sings it inwardly and beautifully.

The majority of the songs here are however those songs lovers of German songs expect to hear, and they are exquisitely performed. Some of the highlights are an inward Morgen, the late Einerlei with magic pianissimo singing, a masterly Allerseelen (a personal favourite of mine), a brilliant Cäcilie, Heimliche Aufforderung and Die Nacht where it is impressive to hear how well she balances the dynamics. She also rounds off the recital, after the Ophelia songs, with an ethereal Ruhe meine Seele.

Dabringhaus und Grimm are very careful with the choice of recording venues, but strangely enough they keep any information to themselves. The sound is as natural as it can be with perfect balance between singer and piano. As I intimated above there is no dearth of good recordings of Strauss’s songs, but Maria Bengtsson’s disc is certainly competitive and if the repertoire is attractive no one should be disappointed in this issue.

Göran Forsling

1. Herr Lenz Op. 37 No. 5 [1:19]
2. Meinem Kinde Op. 37 No. 3 [2:48]
3. Für fünfzehn Pfennige Op. 36 No. 2 [2:26]
4. Hat gesagt – bleibt’s nicht dabei Op. 36 No. 3 [2:06]
5. Das Rosenband Op. 36 No. 1 [3:09]
6. Morgen Op. 27 No. 4 [3:39]
7. Einerlei Op. 69 No. 3 [3:07]
8. Allerseelen Op. 10 No. 8 [3:15]
9. Cäcilie Op. 27 No. 2 [2:31]
10. Malven AV 304 [3:08]
11. Heimliche Aufforderung Op. 27 No. 3 [3:41]
12. Die Nacht Op. 10 No. 3 [2:59]
13. Nichts Op. 10 No. 2 [1:31]
14. Ständchen Op. 17 [2:37]
15. Traum durch die Dämmerung Op. 29 No. 1 [3:16]
16. Schlagende Herzen Op. 29 No. 2 [2:41]
17. Nachtgang Op. 29 No. 3 [2:57]
18. Schlechtes Wetter Op. 69 No. 5 [2:43]
19. Ich trage meine Minne Op. 32 No. 1 [2:22]
20. Wie erkenn ich mein Treulieb Op. 67 No. 1 [2:43]
21. Guten Morgen, s’ist Valentinstag Op. 67 No. 2 [1:19]
22. Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre Op. 67 No. 3 [3:34]
23. Ruhe meine Seele Op. 27 No. 1 [3:23]



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)